Athena Mortem Chapter 15: One For Another

We’d been out searching all day. Warehouse after warehouse, barn after barn. So far, we’d turned up nothing. Just spiderwebs, straw, and old logs. We hadn’t come any closer to finding my baby boy. It was starting to get discouraging. I was losing hope. But I wouldn’t admit that to anyone. I wasn’t coming home without my son, and I meant that. There was no way I could spend another night in that house without him.

“Okay, this is one of the last warehouses around here, Thena.” Hillary told me hesitantly. I thought maybe she could sense my discouragement, I just hoped she wasn’t getting discouraged too.

“Maybe we should head back after this one.” Sebastian suggested. “It’s started to rain, we shouldn’t get sick right now.”

“No. You guys can go home without me, I’m not going back without James.” I knew I was being stubborn, and probably very stupid. But I couldn’t stand the thought of my son out in the world without me.

“We’re not leaving you out here alone. We’re going back when you’re going back.” Hillary was just as stubborn as I was.

“Alright, then lets get moving.” I ushered for them to follow me into the warehouse.

“Oh god.” Hillary’s hand shot up to her nose. The stench inside the warehouse was absolutely horrific. It was full to the brim with trash and boxes. The smell was like death mixed with garbage.

“Well, I guess we better start looking.” Artemis sighed. We started to fan out to search, but something stopped us in our tracks.

Voices.

Upstairs, we heard the soft murmur of a few different voices. Everyone looked at me, and I used two fingers to point towards the stairs.

I slowly started to move up the stairs. The voices were still talking, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. My heart was pounding. What was I going to find at the top of these stairs? Squatters? People just looking for shelter in the rain? Or was I going to find that man, and my son?

Was I prepared to do whatever I needed to get my son back?

I was about to find out.

I gestured for everyone to follow me up the stairs. Hillary was directly behind me, it was a comfort to have her so close. Having her there made this easier, I knew she would do anything to help me get my son back. It was reassuring.

We all got to the top of the stairs, and everything fell apart. Artemis immediately started to break down. Hillary and I started yelling, Zeus threatening lives.

My son. He was there. His head was shaved and all he was wearing was a diaper, but I knew it was him.

He was sitting in the middle of some weird sigil, surrounded by people dressed alike and reaching for candles.

And we knew some of them.

The man who’d been calling me, I finally realized where I knew his voice from.

It was Anson Fernandes, my sister’s fiance.

“You motherfucker, what the hell is wrong with you?” I screamed at him. I always knew he was slightly creepy, but I didn’t think he’d do something like this.

“Ah, dear Athena. So you’ve found us. I told you not to come looking for me. It’s sad, really. I didn’t want to have to kill you.” He sighed, like he was being asked to do a mundane task for a boss, not willingly commit murder. “And you, my dear Artemis. I’m so sorry you had to find out this way.”

“Fuck you.” She sobbed. My heart broke for her.

“Ah, that’s no way to talk to your fiance.” He smirked, then laughed maniacally. “I guess I’m gonna have to kill you too. All of you actually. This’ll be fun.”

“Leader, should we…?” The pretty blond woman next to him trailed off.

“Yes.”

And just like that, everything dissolved into chaos.

His people jumped up and formed a line, immediately shooting off spells at my people. We all jumped into formation as well. Each on of us with an opponent. Athena and Hillary took on the two girls, Sebastian and Brooke took on two of the guys. Zeus took on Ricky, the guy who stood me up for homecoming. I thought it was slightly fitting.

And I, I took on Anson. I wanted to kill the son of a bitch.

All of the rage I’d been feeling the past few days came to a head. All I saw was red. I needed blood, and I was going to get it.

I immediately started with the strongest blinding spell I knew. I wanted to blind that asshole, I wanted my enraged face to be the last thing he ever saw. I was going to do whatever I could to destroy him.

But by the time my spell reached him, he’d reduced it to sparkles.

“You idiot, you think you can defeat me? I’m the strongest witch of the century. Your pathetic little spells won’t even affect me.” Anson laughed.

“You can’t defeat me. I’ll always win. My followers? They’re expendable. I’ll get new ones. But you can’t get new friends.” He laughed.

“Ricky, do it.”

Ricky drew back his wand and prepared to aim. I wasn’t sure what he was aiming for or what he was supposed to be doing, but I intended to find out.

But my attention was pulled away from him and back to my opponent, when my wand went flying out of my hands. Anson had used a spell to fling my wand across the room.

I looked back to him, and he was suddenly on top of the creepy alter. There was no way he could’ve climbed up there in the second I looked away from him. Maybe he really was the best witch of the century. Normal witches were not strong enough for teleportation.

“Athena, I will spare you. Your friends, they’ve maimed all my followers. They’ve won the battle. Except you. You can’t defeat me, you can’t kill me. There’s nothing you can do about it. You’re going to have to live the rest of your pathetic life knowing that you couldn’t kill the man who kidnapped your son.” He chuckled. “And well, I think the repercussions of this battle will be punishment enough.”

“I will fucking kill you, even if I have to do it with just my hands. You’re not going to get away with this.” I growled. I started to come for him, but was frozen in place. He’d managed to do a freezing spell without lifting his wand or even saying anything aloud.

“Ah Athena, you’re so naive. You really think I’d let you get close enough to do that?” He laughed. “I’ll be back. For both of you.” He stared at me for a few seconds, but it felt like it went on forever. He had such a creepy, dead look in his eyes. It was like there was nothing but pure evil behind them.

And with that, he jumped over the railing and into the pool of garbage on the floor below. I turned to rush down the stairs, to follow him, but I was stopped dead in my tracks by a scream.

“Zeus! Zeus no!” My sister screamed in such a way it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Artemis kept screaming his name over and over. Hillary was crouched next to her, trying to get her attention. Trying to comfort her. Brooke was latched onto Sebastian, crying into his chest.

We’d defeated all of Anson’s followers, but not without a casualty of our own.

Zeus Garnet, my first love and the father of my child, lay dead on the cold, disgusting floor of that old warehouse.

Before I even really registered what I was doing, I ran over to him. I pulled him into my arms. I’d never felt anyone so limp in my life, his head just flopped right over. It made my stomach turn, I thought I would puke. The feeling was so different from the usual strong and comforting way of his body. It didn’t even really feel like him.

“Zeus, Zeus.” I couldn’t cry anymore, not after the past few days. I was numb. “I’m so sorry. I’m so fucking sorry. I wish we could’ve worked things out. I wish we could’ve co-parented.”

No one could really hear what I was saying. Artemis was having a full-blown breakdown. I didn’t blame her. Her fiance was an evil mastermind, and now her best friend of all time was dead.

I was glad no one could hear me though. This was just between me and Zeus.

“I’m so sorry. I know you wanted your son to have two parents, unlike us. Fuck, I’m so sorry.” I pulled his limp, cooling body to my chest. “I really did love you, Zeus. I always will.”

I held him close to me for a while. I lost track of time and my surroundings.

Despite all the noise, a tiny little voice pulled me out of it.

“M-mama?” My little James. He sounded so small, so terrified. Gently, I laid Zeus back down on the ground.

“Baby, it’s okay, Mama’s here.”

I scooped my son up into my arms. He clung to me, as I did him. I held him so tight, I never wanted to let him go.

“Mama.” He sobbed into my chest. He was scared, his entire body was trembling.

“It’s okay my love, you’re safe now.” I told him. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to my baby ever again.

“Athena, we should leave. He might come back for us. And we don’t know if these people are dead, knocked out, or stunned. We should get out while we can.” Sebastian interrupted my moment, but I knew he was just looking out for us.

“We can’t leave without Zeus.” I told him sternly.

“We won’t. I’ll take him.” He offered.

It was dark when we left the warehouse a few minutes later. It didn’t seem like that much time had passed, it felt like everything that happened only happened within the span of a few minutes. But it must’ve been at least an hour.

As we left, I scanned the entire area multiple times. I was anticipating Anson behind every tree and around every corner. Maybe he’d changed his mind, maybe he wanted to kill us all after all. But I didn’t see him anywhere.

I hoped no one saw us, because we looked like such a mess. A dead man, multiple crying woman, and a terrified mother clutching onto her son for dear life.

I was dreading our return home. As happy as I was to have my son back, I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with the aftermath.

I couldn’t fathom having to tell Winter her son died to make sure my son got home okay.

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Athena Mortem Chapter 11: Lost Cub

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Immediately after realizing Jj wasn’t in the house, I dialed Zeus. Maybe he decided he wanted him in his life after all? I wasn’t thinking straight, but I had to know if he was with his father.

The phone rang, and rang, but there was no answer. My next line of thought was to call Winter. Maybe she was with them.

“Hello?” Winter answered groggily, I must’ve woken her up.

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“Winter, is Jj with you guys?” I didn’t even bother to greet her, this was too important.

“What? No, why would he be here? Is everything okay?”

“Are you sure? Is he with Zeus? Can you check?” I fired my words so rapidly I wasn’t sure if she even understood what I said.

“I’ll check but I don’t think so. What’s going on?” She sounded much more awake than before, panic rising through her voice.

“He’s not here, I can’t find him anywhere!” I started to feel myself lose control. My son was missing and we had no idea where he was.

“He’s not here. Call the police. We’ll be there as fast as possible.” Winter said, before hanging up.

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“What’s happening?”

“They don’t have him.” I told Hillary quietly. I almost forgot she was there.

“Call the police, Athena. We don’t know how long he’s been gone for. We need to start searching now.”

“Already dialed.” I held the phone up to my ear. I just hoped I could hold myself together.


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After calling the police, Hillary made sure I got dressed. She told me there would be people talking to me all day, and I probably wouldn’t want to be in my bra while they did. She was right, and I was so thankful to have her in my life in those moments.

It wasn’t long after that before the cops arrived, then my family. Even Zeus. I was surprised to see him, I had no idea he even cared. My heart ached slightly, I hadn’t seen him in a while and he looked good.

The police got all our statements, then the crime scene investigator started searching my room. The rest of the cops went out to canvas or something. I wasn’t really paying attention, I was in shock.

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“Don’t worry ma’am, we’ll find your son. There’s never been a missing person’s case that the Riverview police couldn’t solve.” The cop who stayed at our house with us assured me.

“You’re damn right you will.” Hillary retorted. She was just as protective over him as I was.

“I assure you we’re doing everything we can. He’ll turn up.”

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“You’re damn right. He better come back without a scratch on his perfect little head or else I will raise more hell than this town has ever seen.” Hillary rubbed my back comfortingly, “Don’t worry Thena, we’re getting our Jj back.”

“Are you his mother as well?” The cop asked. Hillary blushed a deep shade of red and dropped her hand from my back.

“No, just the roommate and babysitter. But I love that kid like he’s my own.”

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I’m his other parent.” Zeus chimed in from his spot near the desk. “I-I haven’t been around, t-this is a-all my fault.” He started to sob. No one jumped up to comfort him.

“It’s not. It’s mine. I was the one caring for him.” I chimed in. The cop looked uncomfortable and announced he was going to check on the crime scene investigator.

“That’s not true. You were caring for him, but it isn’t your fault. He needed me and I wasn’t there for him. I fucked up.” Zeus buried his face in his hands. I didn’t know what to say.

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“I don’t think anyone is at fault here. This isn’t the first case of this happening.” Artemis chimed in from her place on the floor. She’d brought her laptop with her, and was doing some research on it apparently. “The towns around us have missing toddler cases as well. All witches too.”

“W-were they ever found?” Zeus asked hopefully.

“No. But, maybe it’s different this time. Maybe they’re not related.” She turned to me and smiled, something she’d never done before in our lives.

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“Hopefully, Artemis. Why don’t you go pass that information onto the cop? They might know already but it’s still a good idea to tell them.” My grandma suggested. She looked so old in that moment, so tired. I knew she’d been through hell in her life and this was no exception. I hoped she would live long enough to at least see Jj start school, hopefully even more than that.

“Okay Grandma, I’ll be back.” Artemis closed her laptop and stood up. “I’m so sorry, Athena. We’ll find him.” She stopped before me and smiled slightly. I wondered where my sister was and what kind of alien was in her place.

“T-thank you.” I replied softly, trying to keep myself composed.

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But it didn’t work. My son wasn’t here. We had no idea where he was. I couldn’t handle the idea that I might never see him again, or hear his laugh again. It was too much.

“We’re gonna find him. I’ll search the entire world myself if that’s what it takes. But we’ll find him.” Hillary told me quietly.

“Thank you.”

Just as she was about to respond, our house phone rang.

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I jumped up and immediately made my way towards the phone. Just as I reached to answer, I stopped myself. Did I want to know what the person on the other side of the phone was gonna say? Was it good news? Bad news? Was my son dead? Was he hurt? So many possibilities ran through my head.

“Answer it, Athena.” Winter pushed slightly.

I grabbed the phone with shaky hands and pressed the talk button. “H-hello?

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“Athena, you don’t sound so great. Mama bear lose her cub?” The voice teased through the phone.

“Who is this?” I answered angrily. Right now was not the time for a prank call.

“Doesn’t matter right now, sweetheart.” The voice replied. It sounded familiar, they had a deep manly voice and a strange accent, but I couldn’t place who it was.

“Who the fuck is this? This isn’t funny.” I felt myself grow angry.

“Oh, dear I know this isn’t funny. But don’t worry, your cub is in good hands.

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“What!” I screamed into the phone. “Do you have my son?”

“He’s not your son anymore.” The man turned angry. “He’s ours. There’s nothing you can do to get him back. Don’t even try.”

“Who are you! Is he alive? Give me my son back!” I screamed as loud as I could into the phone.

“I can’t do that, darling.” His voice returning to that creepy, faux-pleasant tone it was at before. “He’s ours now. Don’t you dare come after him. We’ll know if you do.”

And with that, he hung up.

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I dropped to my knees and started to scream. Behind me, I could hear my family jumping up to comfort me, asking me what happened. I could hear the cop and my sister running from the next room.

But the only thing I could focus on was the fact that my son was gone, he was in that man’s creepy little hands and there was nothing I could do.

My precious little James was gone.

Athena Mortem Chapter 10: Lost or Found

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Hillary, James and I got our own place shortly after Zeus and I broke up. It was a small two-bedroom rental near the school, which would be nice in a few years when Jj was old enough. Hillary was an author, so she did all of her work at home. That worked out perfectly for me, she could watch him while I took classes at the local community college.

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“Hey, Thena?” Hillary said while draped over the couch, watching something or other on the tv.

“What’s up?” I replied, not looking away from my son sitting in front of me, happily playing with his toy.

“Have you talked to Zeus lately?”

“I haven’t. I mean I tried to reach out shortly after I moved out but he never answered. The ball’s in his court now, if he’s interested in seeing his son then he can reach out to me. If not, that’s his loss. And that just means we get more time with this little guy.” I smiled and reached out to touch Jj’s face gently. He was so precious.

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“That’s true, but doesn’t he like, need to pay support or something?” Hillary inquired.

“I haven’t really thought about it. But I don’t need his help. He can be a deadbeat if he wants to be, I’m not gonna force him to be involved in any way if he doesn’t want to be.” I shrugged. Sure, we weren’t rich, but we had a roof over our heads and clothes on our back. We didn’t need much more than that.

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“Maybe Zeus needs a little push.” Hillary suggested wearily. We still didn’t know each other very well and it seemed like she was afraid to upset me.

“Maybe. But I’m not his mother. It’s not my job to push him, y’know?” I responded, no hint of anger in my voice. “If Winter wants to push him, she can be my guest. Not my job though.”

“Don’t you want Jj to know his father?”

“Not if he’s gonna act like we don’t exist.” I chuckled, Jj was slamming away on his little xylophone without a care in the world. “I don’t want Jj to get his heart broken. He doesn’t need to get his hopes up just for them to be destroyed.”

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“That’s actually probably a good idea.” Hillary mused while lazily reaching over to pet Dex. “My father always promised to show up to things, but he’d never show. It hurt every time. Probably best to save him the heartache.”

“Exactly.” I turned to smile at her, though she was still focused on the television.

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I turned my attention back to my son when he threw his toy mallet. The ding from the xylophone startled me.

“Jj, what’s wrong baby?”

“I hungy” He frowned sadly, breaking my heart into a million pieces.

“Mama will get you a bottle right now.” I stood up and made my way to the kitchen, noting the time. It was six-thirty, half an hour later than I usually feed him. Time sure flies when you’re having fun…

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As soon as I handed my little James his bottle, he stopped crying and smiled. It didn’t take much to make him happy at this age. I smiled to myself, I wished he would stay this size forever.

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While he ate, I made my way over to Hillary and Dexter. She was draped across the couch, so I opted for the floor next to my cat.

“Are you sure you don’t mind us living with you?” I asked, constantly worried that she’d get sick of having a toddler around.

“I really don’t mind Athena. And besides, you guys don’t live with me. We all live here together. It’s not like you’re living here rent free.” She tried to laugh, but it came out as a weird snort due to her odd angle.

“Having Jj around isn’t a nuisance?” I looked over at him as he happily drank his bottle.

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“He is absolutely not a nuisance. That kid is a gosh-darn gift to humanity.” She smiled. Hillary was a little rambunctious, but she’d been keeping her swearing in check in front of Jj. For which I was very grateful for.

“I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.” I chuckled. My son was the absolute light of my life.

“I should probably get dinner for us started.” Hillary flipped off the couch and headed towards the kitchen.

Life was really good.


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“Are you gonna be a good boy tonight for mommy?” I held Jj in my arms, getting ready to put him down for the night. He’d recently started having issues sleeping through the night.

“But mama, da boogie man.” His eyes grew wide with fear. “He gonna get me tonight” He looked like he was about to cry.

“Shh, no he won’t baby. Mommy will be right here, I won’t leave the bedroom at all. I’ll protect you from any boogie man.” I rubbed his back, reassuringly.

 

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“Mommy, you promise?”

“Of course my love.”

“Otay.” He smiled, and the two of us made our way to the bedroom to go to bed.

I didn’t think I had anything to worry about that night.

But I was wrong.


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That morning I woke up feeling refreshed. Jj hadn’t made a sound last night, and I was hoping this was the end of his bad sleeping phase.

I stretched, yawned and got out of my bed. “Good morning, my love. It’s time to get up.” I spoke lazily as I made my way to Jj’s crib.

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But he wasn’t there.

“Jj?” I called out, starting to panic. Maybe this was a new phase? Climbing out of his crib? He had to be hiding around here somewhere. He had to be.

I searched the whole room. Under the bed, in the dresser, even the attached bathroom. He was nowhere to be found.

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After thoroughly searching the kitchen, garage and living room, I rushed into Hillary’s room.

“Hillary, wake up! Is Jj in here?” I yelled, while frantically looking over her room.

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“What? No, of course not. He never comes in here.” Hillary replied sleepily as she climbed out of bed.

“Fuck!” I screamed, my heart pounding out of my chest. Hillary jumped out of bed, my swearing and frustration waking her up fully.

“Woah, what’s wrong?”

“Jj, he’s gone.” I panicked.

“Oh shit.” Hillary’s face dropped, along with my heart and stomach.

Athena Mortem Chapter 9: Stress

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“Hey Zeus, do you think you could watch Jj for a bit? I’ve been with him all day and I really need a nap.” I carried my son out to the living room where my boyfriend was sat on the couch. Zeus didn’t even look up from his video game.

“Zeus, can you hear me?” I asked after a few moments.

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“Yea Athena, I heard you. I just got home. I’m exhausted too.” He complained.

“Seriously? You’re not going to help at all? You’re just gonna play video games?” I was getting frustrated. Jj was a few months old and Zeus was barely helping. He was either at school or playing video games. Raising our son was solely on my shoulders at this point.

“I’m sorry I need a few minutes to myself. It’s overwhelming sometimes.”

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I put Jj in his swing, I didn’t want to be holding him while I talked to Zeus. I figured it would get heated.

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“Look, I know you’re tired but I am too. Raising a kid isn’t easy. I’m really stressed out, okay?” Zeus’s temper started to show.

“I know raising a kid isn’t easy, I’ve basically been doing it on my own. When you’re at school, I’m with him. When I’m at work, my grandma or your mom is with him. You never spend time with him. Or me.”

“That’s not true at all. I spend plenty of time with both of you.”

“Sleeping in the same room as us isn’t spending time with us! You only play with Jj when he’s in a good mood, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you change his diaper. What exactly is your role here?”

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“I’m trying to finish school so I can get a decent job. I don’t want to be a high school dropout, like you.” He accused.

“I’m not a dropout, I’m in online school. You know that!” I yelled back. He was being an asshole for no reason.

“When’s the last time you’ve actually done any school work?”

“It’s been a while, I’ll admit. But my son comes first. He’s my priority, and I can’t just drop him and do schoolwork. He needs to be taken care of, and I’m the one who’s here to do it for him.” I was getting very frustrated.

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“Look, I’m doing the best I can, okay?” He told me. Bullshit.

“Playing video games instead of looking after your son is the best you can do?” I balled my fists in anger.

“I need some time to de-stress after school.”

“I never get time to de-stress. I’m always stressed. But you know what, fine. De-stress. I don’t care. I’ll just look after our son on my own. Because it’s obvious that I’m the only one of the two of us who actually gives a shit about him.”

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“Of course I care about our son. I love him. If I didn’t care, I would’ve left.”

“You’re as good as gone!” I yelled. “You don’t do anything!”

“It wasn’t my decision to keep the baby!” He screamed at me. “You are the one who couldn’t go through with an abortion. You decided to raise him. I don’t want any of this. I’m a teenager. I shouldn’t have a baby!”

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“A-are you serious?” I stared at him in disbelief. Sure, it wasn’t an ideal situation, but our son was so incredible. I just couldn’t see how someone wouldn’t want him.

“Yea I’m serious. We had plans, Athena. We were going to go to college. You were gonna be a doctor, I was gonna be a musician. We were going to have an amazing life. But now we’re stuck with a kid. How are we supposed to do anything now?”

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“You don’t have to stay. I love Jj enough for both of us. He doesn’t need a shitty dad like you.” I glared at him.

“Athena.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “I don’t want to abandon you. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying that I don’t like this situation and you shouldn’t expect me to. I can’t just magically enjoy being a teen father.”

“We have an incredible baby, and if you don’t enjoy that you can go. Life gets hard sometimes, but you don’t just give up. You make it work.”

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“I can’t just do something I don’t want to do.”

“You’re gonna have to, Zeus. That’s life! But if you really don’t want to be a father, you can leave. I don’t need you.” I seethed.

“Fine.” He stormed off, out the front door.

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I sat down on the couch and started to cry. Jj was so amazing, I just don’t see why Zeus didn’t want to be there for him. Sure, it was a lot of work and it wasn’t easy, but Jj’s smiling little face made it all worth it. Zeus was on board before Jj was born, and now everything changed. I just couldn’t understand.

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I just really hoped that after Zeus calmed down, he’d change his mind. He could just be really stressed and over tired. He could just be saying things he didn’t mean.

Everything was a mess.

———-

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After I had calmed down and Zeus came home, we went into our room to talk. I put Jj down for a nap and Zeus and I were going to try and calmly discuss our future.

“Did you really mean what you said?” I asked him.

“Well I mean I didn’t really decide to have the baby. It was your decision.”

“Does that mean you don’t love him?” I felt extremely hurt. He seemed like he was supportive, but now he was throwing everything back in my face.

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“I love him.”

“Then what are you saying?”

“I don’t love you. I don’t love that you put me in this situation. I thought I could do this, but once he came it was just too much. I’m not ready for this responsibility. I can’t handle it. I want to be in his life, but I just can’t do it right now.”

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“I thought you said you’d support me, no matter what.” I tried to keep myself from crying.

“I’m sixteen, Athena. I’m a kid. I thought I could support you but I just can’t. I’m not ready for this.”

“Are you breaking up with me?” I asked softly.

“I’m sorry Athena.” He looked down at the ground.

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“I just can’t see a future with you anymore. Having a baby so young, it just ruined us. It ruined what we had. I’m sorry.”

“Well, if you’re really breaking up with me, then you can say goodbye to your son. He doesn’t need a wishy-washy asshole in his life.” I stormed out of the room.

————-

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I made my way out onto the balcony. I didn’t know what I was going to do from here. Jj and I couldn’t stay here. We needed our own place, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that. Being a teen parent was hard, especially a single teen parent.

I could drop out and get my GED. From there I could get a full-time job to provide for my son and I. It wouldn’t be easy, but I would do it.

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“Hey, are you alright?” Artemis’s friend Hillary came out on the balcony and sat next to me.

“Not really, Zeus just broke up with me. So now it’s just me and Jj.” I sighed and wiped the tears off my face.

“What an asshole. I don’t see how anyone could leave their kid like that. You’re better off without him.”

“Emotionally, maybe. But raising a baby isn’t easy. I barely have the funds to buy what he needs. How am I supposed to move out?”

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“Why do you need to move out?” She asked. Over the years, I’d realized that Hillary was extremely kind. I wasn’t sure why she hung out with my sister and her crew, but it was nice to have a friendly face around.

“I share a room with my now ex. I just want to get away, me and Jj.” I sighed again.

“I’ve been wanting to move out too. Wanna put our money together and become roommates?” She asked.

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“A-are you serious? Why would you want to live with a teen mom and her newborn?” I asked her.

“I live with emotionally distant parents. I want to get out. I think it would be good for both of us. If we put our money together, we could get a decent place.” Hillary offered.

“Okay. Do you have a place picked out?”

“I do, I could get us in there in less than a month. Are you ready?”

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“I’m so ready.” I told her. This was the fresh start that I needed.


A/N: I’m so sorry for the long wait, things in my life have been a little crazy recently. This year has been a roller coaster so far. But I’m in a really good place right now, so hopefully I’m back to updating regularly. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the chapter 🙂

Athena Mortem Chapter 8: Not That Bad

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Being pregnant wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. I was already used to throwing up, so morning sickness wasn’t a terrible thing for me. I spent a lot of my first trimester reading about pregnancy and what I needed to do to prepare for my baby. It was a little intimidating, but I knew I wasn’t alone.

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Dexter spent a lot of time with me. I think he knew that there was something going on. We spent hours together up in the library, just reading pregnancy and baby books.

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Occasionally Zeus would join us as well. He wasn’t as strong of a reader as I was but he was definitely trying to read as many as he could. I was glad he was my partner in this.

———-

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As my pregnancy progressed, I switched to online school. Artemis told everyone once she found out, and people were mocking me all through the halls. My grandma and I decided that online school would be best, especially after the baby was born.

When I wasn’t doing my schoolwork, I was practicing some alchemy. With the baby coming, I wanted to know how to protect it. The setup was in Winter’s office, so we spent a lot of time together.

“How have you been holding up?” Winter asked me after a long period of silence.

“I’m doing better now that I’m out of school.” I told her.

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“How are you and Zeus?” She looked up from her writing.

“We’re good. I don’t see him much though, since he has a part-time job now. But I’m glad he does, we need the money.”

“Just be sure to make time for each other, that’s really important.” She reminded me.

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“Of course, I care about him and we need to work together if we want to stay together. He has a few nights off a week and we usually spend those together.” I assured her.

“That’s good. You’re a smart girl Athena, you’re really mature for your age. I have no worries about whether or not you can pull this off.”

“Thank you, that means a lot.” I gave her a sincere smile. It was nice to hear something like that from her.

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“Have you guys thought of any names yet?” She asked.

“Not yet, we’re just focusing on preparing ourselves and saving up money. We don’t even know the sex yet.” I chuckled.

“Alright, well if you need any ideas I can help. I’d love to be involved. This is my first grandchild.” She laughed.

“Oh of course.” I assured her. “I’d love your input.”

“Trust me, I’ve been waiting to have a grandchild. I didn’t think it would be this soon, but nevertheless I’m excited. I’ve got plenty of ideas.”

————

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One of her ideas was having Zeus and Artemis switch rooms. She got his old room and he moved in mine. Of course, we had separate beds, but it would be a nice set up once the baby came. We’d gotten a crib and a few small toys, we were actually very excited for the baby.

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“Wow, I can feel him kicking.” Zeus gently laid on hand on my growing stomach as the baby kicked.

“How do you know it’s a boy?” I teased, we didn’t want to know the gender just yet.

“Trust me, a father just knows.” He gave me a cheesy half-smile that made me roll my eyes.

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“But on a serious note, how long do you want to stay here?” He asked me.

“Like, living here?”

“Yea, I mean we can’t raise our baby in this house. There’s too many people here. We’ll have to move out at some point. The sooner the better, really.” He explained.

“I guess yea, but you might change your mind once it’s born. Babies are a lot of work, and here we have a lot of support. I think we should stay at least a year. That gives us time to save up and get used to having a baby.” I reasoned. Moving out too soon could add too much stress.

“Yea I guess.”

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“We’re not gonna stay here forever babe. I’ll finish school, take care of the baby during the day while you’re at school. Then I’ll get a night job while you stay at home with the baby.” I reasoned.

“What about my job?”

“You don’t have to stay at it. But if you really want to, we can have someone watch the baby while we’re working.” I offered.

“Okay. I mean we’ve got time. I’ll make up my mind about it soon.”

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“Yeah definitely. We can do this.” I wrapped my arms around him.

“Of course we can. We’re gonna be amazing parents.” He smiled at me, with that goofy half-smile.

“We will be amazing parents, especially since there’s two of us. Neither of us ever had that, and I’m glad we get to be that for our baby.” I said.

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“We’re gonna give this baby everything.” He pulled me in for a kiss. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

————–

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The closer I got to my due date, the more sore I got. I could barely stand at the alchemy station anymore. So I spent most of my time in the living room, since climbing the stairs all the way to the library was a struggle.

The worst part about this was that I was always right in Artemis’s sight when she came home.

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“Hey fatty, still sitting on your ass all day?” She sneered as she made her way towards me.

“Leave me alone Artemis. I’m just trying to relax.”

“Look at yourself, you’ve been doing enough relaxing lately.”

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I don’t know if it was the hormones, or if I was just tired of her shit, but I snapped at her.

“Leave me the fuck alone, Artemis. I’m pregnant for gods-sake. Of course I’m fat and lazy, I’m supposed to be. Now stop being an evil bitch and get out of my face!” I yelled at her.

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“I may be an evil bitch, but at least I’m not a whore!” She yelled back.

“Oh I’m the whore? I’ve only been with one guy. Rumor has it that you’ve had the whole football team at once. You have no right to call me that.” I accused.

“You are such a bitch! I am not a whore, I’m not the pregnant one.” She glared at me.

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“Don’t even go there. I got pregnant my first time, it’s not like I’m some sex freak. Just leave me alone.”

“You’re the worst. Why did you even keep the baby? You’re ruining Zeus’s life.”

“How am I ruining his life? He loves me, and we’re in this together. You’re just jealous that my boyfriend actually gives a shit about me.” I yelled at her, her boyfriend barely spent any time with her anymore. The guy was sketchy as hell.

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“You really think that? You’re such a dumb, naive little girl. Of course he’s not going to stay with you, they never do. He’ll eventually realize that he can just leave and have a better life. Then it’ll just be you and the little brat.”

“Fuck you. I hate you. You know nothing about Zeus and I.” I balled my fists. I would punch her, but I didn’t want to hurt myself or the baby.

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“Trust me, Zeus and I have been friends longer than you’ve been dating. He’s a coward. He’s gonna leave as soon as shit gets serious.”

“That’s not true at all. You’ve been too far up your own ass to give a shit about anyone other than you, so how the hell do you know what Zeus is like?”

“Fine. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.” She yelled, then stormed off. I sat back down on the couch, fuming. But I wouldn’t let Artemis come between me and my family.

She was wrong about Zeus. He’d never leave us. He was better than that… Right?

———–

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All of my doubts about Zeus went out the window as my due date approached. He gave me massages whenever I needed them. He helped me get all of our baby stuff organized to prepare for the arrival. Most of our time together was spent on the couch, just relaxing and talking about our future.

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About a week before my due date, the two of us were watching a movie, but not really paying attention. We were making out while we still had time to ourselves.

But in the middle of our make-out session, I felt a painful twinge in my stomach.

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“Z-Zeus, I think it’s time.” I clutched my stomach.

“What? Are you serious?” He asked, audibly panicked.

“Of course I’m serious, do I look like I’m joking?” I snapped at him.

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“Oh god. Oh god. We’re gonna have a baby. Oh my god.” He grabbed his hair and looked like he was gonna pull it out.

“Can you calm down and go get your mom? We need to get to the hospital.” I urged at him through gritted teeth.

“Okay. I’ll be right back.” He ran off to her office.

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“Grab my bag while you’re at it, Zeus.” I yelled after him. I slowly started making my way to the door so we could get to the hospital as soon as possible.

I was going to have a baby.

————-

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James Jorge Mortem was born six hours later. He was seven pounds even, and he was absolutely perfect. Zeus and I were completely in love with him. I was so excited to start my life with the two of them.

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My life was absolutely perfect.

I just wish it stayed that way.